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Electric work locomotive heralds new step towards more sustainable rail sector

Think of the energy transition and the move to rail transportation immediately springs to mind.

Rail is after all one of the most energy-efficient modes of transport. But the rail sector itself can also be more energy-efficient. For example, Friesland’s provincial councils have decided that the railways must achieve zero-emissions by 2025. Electrification is a key word in this. Numerous carriers and other rail companies are investing in trains powered by batteries and hydrogen. But rail contractors still lag behind. The reason: The tracks including overhead lines are mostly taken out of service when they are working there. That leaves the rail contractor dependent on diesel. 

Strukton wants to change this, and is converting an old NS locomotive (1600 series) for its own use. Strukton aims for maximum circularity in its re-use of the old locomotive. Strukton is to use the locomotive for transport jobs, with it taking power from the overhead voltage line. Overhead line electricity in the Netherlands comes from wind energy, making it 100% green.

“We regard the introduction of this electric locomotive as a new step in making the rail sector more sustainable. That sustainability is twofold: the electric work locomotive is both good for the climate and healthier for the employees.”
Aad Onderwater, Business Manager Logistics with Strukton Rail Nederland

Strukton is putting the locomotive into service at the Strukton workshop in Zutphen in collaboration with JF Techniek. There it will be rebuilt technically to be fully operational, and will be fitted with new wheels, among other things. Strukton plans to have the electrical locomotive operational during the course of this year.

Battery train
The next step in innovation and sustainability will be expanding the electric locomotive’s abilities with a battery, enabling it to run independently from the overhead lines. The company will depend on its own knowledge for this innovation. Strukton Rolling Stock, specialist in power electronics in rail-bound vehicles, is working with several parties on developing battery and hydrogen trains. For example, it is developing the power electronics for the British operator Vivarail, which is converting diesel trains to hydrogen and battery for Britain’s non-electrified railway lines.